TO MARTIN CARTER

Reading Time: 1 minute

Your voice and tongue are wind and wave

Breaking the dykes of Europe’s power;

Your heart’s a Shango drum

Waking the spirit of your ancestor

From the damp shadow of his leafy grave

Deep in the Canje Creek. If he could speak

Lips would spill an epitaph in blood,

Vengeance secrete from his bare bone,

Priming the dung-rich stalks to bloom with fire.

But he is cold and silent as a stone

That the torrential steam has pushed aside.

If you could dream of nightmares in the wood

With dogs nosing those footprints in the swamp;

Of his encounter

With cutlass, whip, his own black brother,

You’d curse your colour and your race forever

On the Groyne where the wet wind groans

The hair of the drowned is washed like weed;

Rafts rock in the waves, foam spits on our dead

Whose seed and runners spread throughout the land.

If only Massacooraman would come

To avenge our murdered fathers

And break these powered liners

Arriving again for sold.

Listen !

There is a stirring in the leaves;

A movement on the banks of three great rivers.

Birds panic from trees into the sky

Shrieking, shedding feathers.

The drum beats louder, louder

The echo deep inside grows clearer, clearer,

I see a creature rising from the water,

Whose eyes are torches of fire.